PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – In front of a quaint, all-American home on Grove Street in Pleasantville, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo symbolically signed a tax cap bill Thursday that will slow the runaway increase in property taxes in the state of New York.
Sitting in front of table draped with a banner that read "Protecting Taxpayer Dollars," Governor Cuomo signed the bill that will cap school and local property taxes at 2 percent a year, or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower.
Cuomo said that he believes that the tax cap will be monumental for residents of Westchester, who pay a median property tax of $8,474 a year, more than double the state median of $3,755, and far higher than the median national property tax of $1,917.
"This is a big day, this is a big accomplishment," Cuomo said in front of state, county and local lawmakers, press and neighbors. "Property taxes in New York State, I believe, are the most destructive taxes,"
The ceremonial bill signing was held in front of the home of Pleasantville residents Russell and Tara Klein and their four sons. Mr. Klein is a small business owner whose property tax bill is more than $16,000 a year. Klein said that this cap is very beneficial but that he worries that these cuts will affect the schools and other community services.
"We have to figure out the school part of it, my wife is very involved in the schools in general," Klein said. "But you can't just keep raising the taxes or else we won't be able to afford it."
Cuomo noted in his speech that there was a time when New Yorkers worried whether or not they could afford the mortgages on their homes, but recently the question became whether they could afford the property taxes. He hopes that this tax cap will allow residents to afford to live in their current homes.
New York State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) introduced the governor and noted that by signing the bill, Cuomo accomplished something he promised the people of New York.
"The very first priority was to ease the tax burden on the taxpayers and that is what he focused on," Stewart-Cousins said. "This is about keeping New York viable economically, this about keeping businesses here, this about keeping our families here."